The Degree Programme in International Business granted the Prestigious EPAS Accreditation

Posted: June 13, 2012 by Alison in FYI
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The Bachelor’s Degree Programme in International Business at JAMK University of Applied Sciences (JAMK) has received a significant international honour. In its meeting on 30 May 2012, the Accreditation Board of European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) granted the Degree Programme in International Business the prestigious EPAS accreditation (EFMD Programme Accreditation System) for three years. The accreditation received by the programme marks the first time in EFMD’s history that such an honour has been given to a Finnish bachelor’s level programme in university of applied sciences.

The prerequisites for accreditation are high content and qualitative requirements that promote international management education. Earlier recipients of this accreditation in Finland are degree programmes at Turku School of Economics, University of Vaasa and Lappeenranta University of Technology. “This is an important testimony to the quality and successful processes of our Degree Programme in International Business. It also pays credit to the international business education produced at JAMK, the competitiveness of which is continuously being developed to better meet the ever-changing needs of the global operating environment. The accreditation is also an important sign that the Finnish education at university of applied sciences is respected internationally,” says a delighted Asta Wahlgrén, the Director of Unit, School of Business and Services Management at JAMK.

A major, multi-stage effort

EPAS accreditation for a degree programme requires strong internationalisation, modern educational content, proven applied research, genuine corporate co-operation, and a high level of quality assurance. The strict, multi-phase process typically lasts 1.5-2 years. The EFMD membership needed during the initial phase of the process already requires recommendations from accredited universities. After membership is approved, competency to begin the actual accreditation process is evaluated. “The process involves a careful assessment of the entire programme, its position within the university, design, delivery and, in particular, the outcomes,” explains Matti Hirsilä, the Head of Department responsible for the programme.

The EPAS accreditation process was initiated in 2009 by the Senior Lecturer, International Affairs Coordinator of JAMK’s School of Business and Services Management Risto Korkia-Aho, who had already paved the way for it in dozens of meetings, negotiations and paper presentations at EAIE, QSAPPLE, APAIE and NAFSA conferences. In the academic year of 2011-2012, the School of Business and Services Management was ready to compile a critical self-evaluation report. Based on this report, an international assessment group appointed by EFMD decided to carry out an evaluation visit to JAMK in April 2012. The two-day visit involved a process that included management, staff and student interviews as well as the participation of programme alumni and corporate partners. The assessment group was made up of academic experts and business representatives.

“This highly appreciated international accreditation recognition sends a message about the reliability and high quality education of our university of applied sciences. Competition in the university world has led to a situation in which an increasing number of accredited universities co-operate and form partnerships only with other accredited institutes. Thus, EPAS accreditation means that in the future we will have better opportunities to co-operate with respected universities. Accreditation of the degree programme also increases appreciation for the programme among applicants and students,” outlines Hirsilä.

The accreditation group made particular mention of the international nature of the degree programme. The dynamic and close corporate partner network also impressed the assessment group with its good working life connections and genuine desire to co-operate with the degree programme and its students. Placement of the alumni graduating from the programme in international positions also exceeded expectations. “The accreditation process gave us an excellent opportunity to measure the functionality of our processes and to take a closer look at the assessment of the quality and international competitiveness of our education and development work. This is good starting point for further development of activities. We are very satisfied with the end result,” adds Hirsilä.

Further information

Risto Korkia-Aho, Senior Lecturer, International Affairs Coordinator, +358405215687 rkorkia@jamk.fi

Matti Hirsilä, Head of Department +358 40 521 5637, matti.hirsila@jamk.fi

Asta Wahlgrén, Director of Unit, +358 40 576 9372, asta.wahlgren@jamk.fi

JAMK University of Applied Sciences, School of Business and Services Management

EFMD is recognised globally as an accreditation body in management education. It has nearly 700 member organisations from academia, business or public service. JAMK’s School of Business and Services Management was accepted as a member of the EFMD organisation in June 2011, thus becoming the first Finnish university of applied sciences to be accepted as a member. Additional information about EFMD and the accredited degree programmes is available at: http://www.efmd.org/index.php/accreditationmain/epas/epasaccreditedprogrammes

07.06.2012 07.53

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